I believe words have a place in marketing. A company can use them to elicit an association between a company and a feeling. Watch a few luxury car ads, listen to the voiceover and you’re likely to find plenty of examples of this. However, small businesses can elicit strong emotions and tie feelings to their brand, without having to spend huge amounts of money for ads in declining mediums.

Below is an example that should not be taken verbatim unless it fits the business and the brand. However, this is an example that can be adapted and applied to many businesses, especially brick and mortar stores.Plate_of_cookies

Freshly baked cookies. This may not help the obesity problem facing our nation, but customers will undoubtedly return when they’re in the area for the smell and taste of cookies.

How to implement: Let’s say the business is a retailer of household items — Smith’s Cooking and Decor.

Every day, prior to coming to work, the store manager bakes two sheets of mini cookies. The company provides the cookie dough and pays the person $20 to bake them, covering the time and increased utility bill. This would cost the business roughly $10,000 per year to have 75-100 cookies on hand and the smell of fresh-baked cookies in the store.

The Big Deal: Use this suggestion or a similar idea to:

  1. Differentiate businesses that are basically the same.
  2. Increase store traffic.
  3. 3. Attach a positive feeling to your business. Cookies, and free food in general, tells customers that they’re being taken care of.
  4. Increase customer loyalty.